Baseball America is in the middle of publishing their Top 20 Prospects in each minor league, and they held their California League Top 20 chat last Friday, and here are a few excerpts after the Top 5 CalIfornia League prospects for 2011:
1. Tyler Skaggs, ARI
2. Jedd Gyorko, SD
3. Gary Brown, SFG
4. Zack Wheeler, NYM
5. Jonathan Singleton, HOU
Roger (Greenville, SC): Is Tyler Skaggs capable of becoming a #1 SP, or is it more of a #2 SP profile?
Josh Leventhal: Sure seems like he's capable of being a No. 1, particularly after a successful leap to Double-A. There was a lot of praise for his improved fastball command, which makes his big-breaking curve that much more effective.
Diamondbacks pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs was rated as #1 prospect in the Cal League, as he pitched well enough to earn a promotion to Double A. In the Cal League, he struck out 125 and walked 34 in 101 innings pitched in his 15 starts. At AA Mobile, he was 4-1 in 10 starts, with a 2.50 ERA and 1.04 WHIP and a 73-15 K/BB rate in 57.2 innings. I could see him getting a cup of coffee in Arizona in 2012, but should be in the Diamondbacks rotation by 2013.
More excerpts after the jump:
Rich W (New Jersey): I love the skill set of Gary Brown. I can't help but notice that he's old for the league and therefore would like to know your opinion on how he'll do once he's exposed to AA pitching next year? Do the Giants have any concerns and is that why they kept him in High-A all season?
Josh Leventhal: His defense and speed alone should get him to the big leagues. Besides that, there was a lot of praise for his ability to make contact. He doesn't strike out a lot chasing pitches out of the strike zone.
Brown had an excellent year in High A and like Rich W above, many questioned why he played in High A the whole year without a promotion. Brown hit .336-.407-.519 with 14 HRs, 80 RBI, 115 runs, 53 stolen bases and a 77-46 K/BB rate. Brown should start the 2012 season in AA Richmond, and I hope I get a chance to see him play when they visit the Trenton Thunder.
Greg (Los Angeles, CA): How does Allen Webster project as a pro? Front of the rotation potential? Any idea when he will be ready to make an impact for the Dodgers? Thanks!
Josh Leventhal: Webster was described as being very polished for this league and having the potential to throw four pitches for strikes. Lots of praise for him, though I'm not sure how much he got in the Southern League. We'll have to see how he does again at Double-A next year after getting knocked around there this year.
Webster was 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA and 1.241 WHIP with a 62-21 K/BB rate in 54 innings pitched in the hitter-friendly Cal League. He was promoted to AA Chatanooga where he went 6-3 with a 5.04 ERA and 1.505 WHIP with a 73-36 K/BB rate in 91 innings of work. Webster more than likely will repeat AA in 2012.as Leventhal suggests.
Roger (Greenville, SC): Most of the 3B on this list have had questions at one point or another about whether they could stick at 3B. Who do you think does, and who's still on the bubble?
Josh Leventhal: That is a good point. I think the one who made the most improvement and answered the most questions about his future at third is Nolen Arenado. He dropped about 20 pounds in the offseason and showed a lot more mobility at third. Jedd Gyorko sounds like he'll be average defensively there. Chris Dominguez is pretty rough around the edges but has the arm to make up for it.
Arenado was the 6th ranked prospect in the Cal League where he tore the league up hitting .298-.349-.487 with 20 HRs, 122 RBI and 82 runs scored. He improved his eye at the plate as he put up a 53-47 K/BB rate in 517 at bats, after posting a 52-19 K/BB rate in Low A in 2010.